Guest blog by Ellie Hetebrij, a photojournalism student. Ellie was inspired to capture Paralympic cycling hopeful, Craig Green, training for Rio 2016 after reading his story as part of our 100 days, 100 stories campaign.
My background in photography is in sport and extreme training. This year I have started following Paralympic hopefuls and disabled athletes for what I hope will be an ongoing project about what it takes to win a place to compete at Rio.
I first came across Craig Green when I read an article about him on Scope’s website as part of the 100 Days, 100 Stories campaign. While reading it, I couldn’t help but be inspired by him – he had risen above the obstacles life had thrown at him and sounded so determined.
I don’t think that I had any preconceptions about disabled athletes. I’m incredibly inspired by what Craig and the others I’m documenting do. The way in which Craig turned his life around is what I found incredibly inspiring; to me it’s characters like Craig who are the true role models our society and generation needs.
In all inspiring people’s stories there is always an event where the main character lands in trouble. But this is where Craig’s story really begins, although it may sound hard to believe, it would seem that the day Craig went to jail is the day his life changed for the better.
Craig was born with Poland Syndrome, a condition affecting his right hand and pectoral muscles. When he left school, he was told that his hand would stop him following his friends into a trade like bricklaying or the Army. In need of money, he found work on a cannabis farm and in June 2010 was sentenced to four years in prison for conspiracy to cultivate a class B drug.
This proved to be a turning point. He spent his free time getting fit and volunteering at the prison gym and then the Peterborough YMCA community gym, which he now manages. He got hooked on cycling after a successful trial for the British cycling team after attending an event showcasing Paralympic sports.
He now trains six days a week and is a C5 paracycling hopeful for the Rio Paralympics in 2016. The Rio qualifiers are coming up in September and he needs scores and points from this season’s competitions and the World Cup Series to win a sport on Team GB.
Craig is a truly inspiring and humble character. It has been a pleasure working alongside him in his pursuit of the Paralympics. Craig is very passionate about cycling and trains incredibly hard. I hope to continue documenting his journey towards the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.
Ellie is a second year student studying for a press and editorial photography degree at Falmouth University. The images of Craig are part of her coursework.
Craig is taking part in Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 2015 for Scope this August. Follow him on Twitter for updates.
Scope is proud to be charity of the year for Prudential Ride London-Surrey-100 2015. Join our team with free entry before 13 May to cycle 100 miles through London and Surrey. All riders will receive a limited edition cycling jersey and a hero’s reception at the finish. Public entries are now closed and the only way to join the event is with Scope. Join now!